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ViroPharma Inc. (VPHM - Snapshot Report) along with partner Halozyme Therapeutics (HALO - Snapshot Report) recently reported positive data from a mid-stage study on the subcutaneous formulation of Cinryze, which is being evaluated in combination with Halozyme's Enhanze technology, for the treatment of patients suffering from hereditary angioedema (HAE). The companies presented the data at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology.
The Enhanze technology is a proprietary drug-delivery platform, using Halozyme's recombinant human hyaluronidase enzyme (rHuPH20). This proprietary rHuPH20 enzyme facilitates the absorption and dispersion of drugs or fluids that are injected under the skin.
The study demonstrated that the subcutaneous formulation of Cinryze was easy to administer, well tolerated and resulted in sustained physiologically relevant C1 INH functional concentrations among patients with HAE. Following the positive data, the companies plan to further evaluate this combination, administered subcutaneously as a single injection in HAE patients.
We note that Cinryze, in the intravenous form, is currently marketed worldwide as a treatment for routine prophylaxis against angioedema attacks in adolescent and adult patients with HAE.
We are encouraged by the study results and believe that the approval of the subcutaneous formulation of Cinryze will add to the drug’s sales, which increased 42% to $251.2 million in 2011. Higher sales from the drug led to overall growth in ViroPharma’s revenues. For 2012, ViroPharma expects US Cinryze sales to range from $310 to $330 million.
We currently have a Neutral recommendation on ViroPharma. The stock carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short-run. We are pleased with Cinryze’s uptake in the US and expect investors to keep a close watch on the performance of the drug in the European Union, where it was approved in June last year.
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